Should the NT Haustafeln  Argue for or against the  Ordination of Women, or Should the Current  Trends Open up the Opportunity?
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Should the NT Haustafeln Argue for or against the Ordination of Women, or Should the Current Trends Open up the Opportunity?



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The question whether to ordain women or not threatens the fabric of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The anti and the pro-ordination argument hinge on scripture, the only source of authority for the Remnant Church. This paper has made a critical observation of the arguments and concludes that neither of the camps is right. It has made a brief excursus into the backdrop that may have influenced the prohibitions and observed that it (the backdrop) may not certify the prohibitions to be eternal interdiction on women participation in ministry. The study realizes that the seeming interdictions are statements aimed at setting the church in orderhaustafeln to defocus believers from their individual self in order to refocus them to their divine calling as colabourers with Paul in Christ. Because the NT seems quiet on the issue whether to, or not to ordain women, and because the texts used for or against seem to be read either at an apparent level, or applied without a keen regard to the contexts, this paper suggests further study of the verses that form the backbone of arguments before any action is taken by the world church.



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Should the NT Haustafeln  Argue for or against the  Ordination of Women, or Should the Current  Trends Open up the Opportunity? Should the NT Haustafeln Argue for or against the Ordination of Women, or Should the Current Trends Open up the Opportunity? Document Transcript

  • 1 2 3 Should the NT Haustafeln1 Argue for or against the Ordination of Women, or Should the Current Trends Open up the Opportunity? 4 5 6 7 8 Simon Bwambale, PhD Lecturer, Bugema University, Kampala Uganda, Dec 2013 The question whether to ordain women or not threatens the fabric of the Seventh-day Adventist 9 Church. The anti and the pro-ordination argument hinge on scripture, the only source of authority for the 10 Remnant Church. This paper has made a critical observation of the arguments and concludes that neither 11 of the camps is right. It has made a brief excursus into the backdrop that may have influenced the 12 prohibitions and observed that it (the backdrop) may not certify the prohibitions to be eternal interdiction 13 on women participation in ministry. The study realizes that the seeming interdictions are statements aimed 14 at setting the church in orderhaustafeln to defocus believers from their individual self in order to 15 refocus them to their divine calling as colabourers with Paul in Christ. Because the NT seems quiet on the 16 issue whether to, or not to ordain women, and because the texts used for or against seem to be read either at 17 an apparent level, or applied without a keen regard to the contexts, this paper suggests further study of the 18 verses that form the backbone of arguments before any action is taken by the world church. Abstract 19 Introduction 20 In the paper presented by the writer to the ECD Biblical Research Committee of 21 March 19-21, 2013, it was noted that "the practice of, or the mere prospects to the 22 ordination"2 of women is a wage that may soon or later break the cords that holds a 23 majority of the Christian denominations including the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) 24 Church.3 "Conservatives" (hereafter, "exclusivists") perceive gender inclusiveness as _______________ 1Houstafeln is a plural form of the German word Haustafel which may literary be interpreted as House Table, denoting house or community decorum. Marshall H. Lewis categorises Haustafeln as first, Church order regulations (1 Tim 2:8-15; 6:1-2; Titus 2:1-10; 1 Clement 1:3; 21:6-9). Second, haustafel may be in form of wisdom (Did 4:9-11; Bar 19:5-7). Third, it may be station codes as exemplified by Eph 5:21-6:9; Col 3:184:1; 1 Pet 2:13-3:12. Lewis observes that "early Christian station codes typically mention three station pairs: masters and slaves, husbands and wives, parents and children, with the instruction that the latter are to submit to the former." See Marshall H. Lewis, "The Petrine Haustafel: A Contemporary Interpretation," A Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements of Ch 522 Theologies of the New Testament, Chicago Theological Seminary, April 1995, 3. 2Simon Bwambale, "Where is the Ordination of Women in the NT?: A Review of Views, and Recommendations," A paper Presented at the Biblical Research Committee, Advent Hill, Nairobi, Kenya, March 2013, 1. 3The researcher conducted a simple survey to sample the perception on WO. The first group comprised students of the School of Theology and Religious Studies, Bugema University. In attendance was 265 students out of the 326 students reflected in the records from the Registrar's office. The nationalities of the students included Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The survey question was "Should the SDA Church Ordain Women? Yes, No. Give reasons for your answer." Out of the 265 students, 108 said "Yes," 146 said "No" and 11 had 1
  • 25 contrary to biblical revelation. On the contrary, the pro-ordinationists (hereafter, 26 "inclusivists"), too, regard women exclusion from ministry as contrary to the biblical 27 perspective of the role of women in God's mission,4 and are confident that time and 28 trends will take care of entrenched male prejudice that deters the progress. The above 29 views exhibit for each other a disdain that fails to acknowledge the bitterness and the 30 divisions generated by the debate.5 31 This paper endeavours to make an additional excursus on the issue of women 32 ordination (hereafter, WO) to ministry by, first making a summary of the pull-and-push in 33 the SDA Church discussed in the previous paper. Second, the paper is an attempt to 34 exegetically elaborate the NT haustafeln that supply to the exclusivists the basis for rejecting 35 WO. Third, since, like the exclusivists, the inclusivists often seek the mandate of scripture 36 to advance their propositions, this paper seeks to further investigate the major texts 37 alluded to. Fourth, the paper recommends a way forward for the Seventh-day Adventist 38 Church leadership to deal with the challenge. 39 40 A Summary of Argument for and against Women's Ordination 41 Though the voices for or against WO are equally strong and divisive in other 42 denominations, this section concerns itself with the phenomenon in the SDA church. 43 Percentage wise, the voices for and against WO cut the SDA church midway though there 44 might be varying concentrations on the globe. For the exclusivist camp, the Bible is 45 basically the foundation for the argument against WO6 and maintain that biblical texts 46 that regulate women's participation are extremely clear, and need not be subjected to the _______________ no position. The second survey was conducted after a devotional of the Uganda Union committee members and staff. Out of the attendance of 45 people 15 said "Yes," 26 said "No," and 4 had no position. Apart from those who had no position, both groups gave reasons that were based on Scripture. Though not conventionally samples, the perception of the groups may, to some degree, a representation of the perception in the Church in East Central Africa Division. 4See Nancy Vyhmeister, ed., Women in Ministry: A Biblical and Historical Perspective, (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 1998). 5 Gordon Wenham, "Ordination of Women: Why is it so Divisive," Churchman, 92(1978): 310. Rodney A. Whitacre also observes that the ordination of women is not only a complex topic, it is also an emotionally loaded topic because big issues are at stake. It is obviously such for women who feel called to ordained ministry. More generally, for many folks it is seen as an issue of equality, and there is anger at the injustice and oppression involved if women are not able to serve God as they feel led. See Rodney A. Whitacre, "Reasons for Questioning Women’s Ordination in the Light of Scripture," 2013, 2. 6Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, "Campaign for Women's Ordination: Role of Church Leaders and Scholars," Excerpted and modified from Must We Be Silent?: Issues Dividing Our church, (Ann Arbor, MI: Berean Books, 2001), xx. 2
  • 47 exegesis that water down their prescription to the modern church.7 They do acknowledge 48 their role.8 A host of Adventists call for a return to Scripture to guide in the question and 49 sound a caveat that a firm stand on the "truth" may be at the expense of positions and 50 comfort.9 51 As the case is with the exclusivists, the inclusivists' voice are loud and firm from men 52 and women who aver that the Church has unnecessarily delayed to endorse WO, and 53 argue that because the trends have given a new perspective to human roles “time has 54 come to stand up and be counted and truly act on what we believe, that God is no 55 respecter of persons and that, in Christ, there is no male or female.”10 A social argument 56 sticks out strongly and as Keren Katoske contends the Church's endorsement to WO 57 would “not only follow biblical instruction but also to maintain credibility before our younger 58 members who are keenly aware of gender issues” (emphasis supplied).”11 The endorsement is 59 sometimes viewed as heeding to the biblical-eschatological call to involve all co-laborers in 60 the thrust of the end-time proclamation; a heed to the call for justice (Micah 6:8), 61 egalitarianism (Gal 3:28) and selflessness (Matt 7:12).12 Furthermore, ‘Priesthood of all 62 believers’ is another factor fronted for WO for reasons that faith in Jesus elevates believers 63 to a common platform irrespective of gender.13 Ray avers that ordaining women “not only _______________ 7Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, "Answers to Questions about Women's Ordination" Adventist Affirm (1987): 1-3. 8Ibid, 2; This camp observe the conspicuous role of women in the OT and NT: “Huldah who counseled the prophets, (2 Kgs 22:13, 14), women who sang and attended to tabernacles and Temple (1 Samuel 2:22, 1 Chr 25:5, 6, Psa 68:24, 25), women who prayed aloud and prophesied in the church (1 Cor 11:5), and those who laboured with Paul (Phil 4:3). In the NT Paul strongly commends some, including widows (Rom 16:1-5, 6, 12, 13, 15; Acts 9:39). Despite their importance, women did not serve as priests in the OT (Exod 28:1, Num 3:1-13)”(See Bwambale, 5). The camp studies the texts including 1 Tim 2:11-14; 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1Cor 14:33-36) and conclude that women did not serve as leaders; nor did they serve as teachers, elder, pastor in the New Testament (Ibid.) 9Speaking against the decision at PUC, Christine G. Byrn, working in the Education Department at the Conference, boldly assert that women are already active in ministry. It is unwise to create an impression that would create schism within the Church (Bwambale, 5 ). See also Christine G. Byrn, to Elder Rothler, March 26, 2012, an email as response to the Action of PUC on Women’s ordination, accessed Feb 21, 2013. 10Lourdes-Morales Gudmundsson, to Ricardo Graham, March 14, 2012, an email response to the action of PUC on the issue of women’s ordination, accessed on Feb 21, 2013. 11Keren Katoske, Walace D. Minder, to Ricardo Graham, March 14, 2012, an email response to the action of PUC on the issue of women’s ordination, accessed on Feb 21, 2013. 12Dan Smith, to Ricardo Graham, March 14, 2012, an email response to the action of PUC on the issue of women’s ordination, accessed on Feb 21, 2013. On the point of equality, see also Randall I. Roberts et al., Rob and Daphne Thomas, to Ricardo Graham, March 14, 2012, an email response to the action of PUC on the issue of women’s ordination, accessed on Feb 21, 2013. 13Courtney Ray, Gilbert M. Valentine, and Jared Wright, to Ricardo Graham, March 14, 2012, an email response to the action of PUC on the issue of women’s ordination, accessed on Feb 21, 2013. 3
  • 64 bears a witness to the world that God truly is not a respecter of persons, but it also shows 65 our commitment to the biblical concept of the priesthood of all believers!”14 66 The consequent tension ought not to be underestimated. The remark captured by 67 Gary Patterson that the GC has no authority over ministers and, thus, “overstepped its 68 bounds in seeking to tell the unions”15 what to do on the matter, ought to be a signal of 69 the iceberg. "Objection to ordain, according to him, is interfering with the eschatological 70 mission work of the Holy Spirit to inspire sons and daughters" as stated in Acts 11:17, 71 18.16 72 Yes, in terms of percentage, the voices for and against WO in the SDA church are 73 equally strong , and each voice integrates scripture in the argument. The last paper 74 concentrates on identifying the textual challenges overlooked by each side as they employ 75 them (albeit sometimes eisegetically). The next section is dedicated to hermeneutical and 76 exegetical study of the common NT haustafeln texts that are often employed by exclusivists 77 to ground their argument in Scripture. 78 Some NT Haustafeln and Exclusivism 79 It may be proper to restate in this paper that "on top of the exclusivist views being 80 skewed to personal feelings, socio-cultural and psychological presuppositions, most of the 81 exegetical exertions have a GIGO tendency that goes into the biblical text using a 82 particular hermeneutic approach to scoop out information bent towards a premeditated 83 goal."17 84 85 The Historical Setting of Some Haustafeln The first century Christianity was operating in a contextual mix of a conglomerated 86 Gnostic philosophic structure which the NT interpretations earlier than our century have 87 not delved into. This may not be a surprise. The quiescence of Gnosticism might be 88 attributed the blow that buried the philosophy into oblivion. According to Gary C. Burger, 89 Orthodoxy Christianity struggled against Gnosticism in the fourth century and gave a 90 lasting blow to the philosophy by cutting it off from Christianity, ostracizing its teachers, _______________ 14Ibid. 15Gary Patterson, “Six Points on the Ordination of Women Issue,” at @EbookBrowse (Feb., 13, 2013). 1 16Bwambale, 6. 17Bwambale, 7. For the meaning of 'GIGO' see Rod Short, "GIGO," The International Maritime Human Element Bulletin 4(July 2004), dampier.pdf, (Accessed March 4, 2013). 4
  • 91 and cracking down on their literature. This state of affairs continued until the 1945 Nag 92 Hammadi discovery of more-than-a dozen remaining scrolls that for over a millennium 93 had been hoarded. After unearthing the complex teaching and lifestyle advocated by this 94 philosophy, fresh light has been flashed on some statements of the NT thereby making 95 them clearer to the present age.18 96 The convoluted structure of Gnosticism has precipitated debate among historians 97 over the cradle of Gnosticism. While Some observe Gnosticism to be a pre-Christian 98 philosophy that may be traced back to the Persian and Babylonian times, others associate 99 it with Zoroastrianism. On the other hand some have regarded it as an offshoot of 100 Judaism. In connection with this, Willis Barnerstone and Marvin Mayer observe that the 101 distinction between transcended god and the creator of the world might have been the 102 impact of the monotheistic affirmations of the Jewish Gnostics. Perhaps, they avers, the 103 Gnostic mythology of two far apart gods may have been a construct of a merge of the 104 Jewish apocalypticism and the reflections of the Hellenistic Jewish thinkers that emerged 105 after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 A.D.19 106 The hue of the philosophy does bring in other speculations. In the introduction to 107 the book The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels advances that as early as before the first century 108 A.D., there existed trade interactions between the Greco-Roman and Indian communities. 109 Because of these links the Buddhist missionaries may have infiltrated and might have been 110 proselytizing in and around Alexandria. It may be precisely averred that the consequence 111 of this inroad may have caused a hazy divide between the Gnostic and the Eastern, 112 religions.20 113 An overview of several of Paul's admonitions may be a foretaste that the Greco- 114 Roman world embraced the gospel with a worldview that challenged or, at best, 115 compromised some Christian doctrines. In an attempt to set the Christian "house" in order 116 Paul makes statements to check the inroads of the Gnostic mythology and practice into 117 the believing community. George E. Buttrick, too, avers that Paul strongly charged _______________ 18Gary C. Burger, "The Gnostic View of the Feminine, 2. Available at, October 12, 2013. 19Willis Bernstone and Marvin Mayer, Gnosticism, Gnostics, and the Gnostic Bible, (London, England: Shambhala, 2003), 3. 20Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, (New York, NY: Vintage Books Edition, Random Books, Inc., 1989), xxi. 5
  • 118 Timothy with the task of combating heresies in order to maintain orthodoxy. In the 119 epistles, Paul 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 "...flings an accumulated heap of epithets at his opponents denouncing them with scathing and scorching language. They profess to know God, but actually know nothing. Their minds are corrupt and depraved. They have rejected the truth. Their knowledge is falsely so called. Their wrangling is only godless chatter, dispute about words, godless and silly myths...Having departed from and missed the mark as regards faith being disobedient, insubordinate and unbelieving, they have become subjects to deceitful spirit and doctrines of demons, caught up in devil's trap."21 127 All such as above were not from human revulsion of opponents,22 rather it ought to 128 be viewed as a bid to inhibit the state of affairs that would gradually "orthodoxize" 129 heresies by popularizing them. Such common-placing in the believing community of the 130 amalgamation of the heresy-orthodoxy would produce an amorphous conglomeration of a 131 type of hybrid Christianity far removed from the cause of Christ to which Paul and his 132 fellow labourers were called.23 133 Jacob E. Sofra and Jorge A. Caurz observe that "the Gnostics sects of the 2nd 134 century made use of the Hebrew and Christian religious writings, employing the allegorical 135 methods to extricate Gnostic meanings from them."24 Conversely, some Christian 136 teachings owed much from the Gnostic philosophy to the extent that some Christians 137 practiced "quasi-Christian Eucharist and baptisms and others rejecting all aspects of 138 conventional worship including prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Notions of ethics likewise 139 varied widely."25 In addition to Gnosticism, Buttrick mentions that Jewish and pagan 140 influences "were freely circulating and seeking incorporating themselves into the rapidly 141 growing Christian movement becoming. As the church was expanding and embracing 142 individuals, various points of view were being incorporated in the new faith. Commenting 143 on insinuation circum locution obtrusive simulation 144 Thus, whatever might have been its cradle, and whatever might have been its 145 constituent philosophies and teaching, Gnosticism had prevalent influences in the world in 146 which the apostle Paul did missionary work. It is, therefore, pertinent that this study _______________ 21George E. Buttrick, ed., "1 and 2 Timothy, Titus," in The Interpreter's Bible, 12 vols., vol. 10, (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1956), 350. 22See Andes Erickson, "'Women Tongue Speakers, Be Silent': A Reconstruction Through Paul's Rhetoric," Biblical Interpretation, 6(1998), 82. Noteworthy is the fact that Paul's rhetoric in his epistles is inclusive. The situation he addresses determines his rhetoric approach. While in 1 Cor 12-14 he employs an insinuatio, in the text of our reference he uses imperatives to directly address the issues. 23Buttrick, 24Jacob 351-7. E. Sofra and Jorge A. Caurz, New Encyclopædia Britanica, 15 th ed. London, UK), 315. 25Ibid. 6
  • 147 discusses some scriptural references that are often approached subjectively with a mindset 148 that does not consider them as haustafeln within their sitz em leben, the situations that 149 prompted Paul to strongly address issues in those particular texts. This section intends to 150 point out the backdrops of certain texts that are used in the WO debate.26 151 152 Women Submission in Eph 5:22 Even taken as a text that configure a family as a miniature Christ-Church relationship, 153 Eph 5:22 is explained out of its contextual gist and out of its possible background. Before 154 attacking this text as patriarchy driven, it may be pertinent to make a brief excursus into 155 what might be taking place in the background. 156 The Historical Setting behind Submission 157 Ephesians 5:22ff should not be confined in the bracket of men's subjugation of 158 women, nor should it be viewed as a family life text. Rather, Paul in this text seems to be 159 strongly airing an exhortations that particularly address waves that were negatively 160 impacting the believers' concentration on their spirituality. According to Edwin Yamauchi, 161 Gnosticism, a major philosophy prevalent in the first century, seriously perverted 162 Christianity to the extent that, as the second century reveals, almost hijacking the new 163 faith. Gnostics distorted the OT by reinterpreting it in terms of the Gnostic world view. 164 Yamauchi notes that Gnostic claim that the OT messianic prophecies were pointing to a 165 Gnostic Saviour.27 They believed that "man was not a transgressor but a victim, and that 166 the fall was not man's but rather Sophia's. Man was alienated from a true knowledge of 167 himself and fettered to earth by malevolent ignorance described as sleep, drunkenness, 168 forgetfulness.... Man experienced a nostalgia, a homesickness for the lost paradise. 169 Salvation for the elect pneumatics consisted of a recognition of their true celestial origin."28 170 Other doctrines of Gnosticism include the reservation of the pneuma since there is no 171 resurrection; a drive to get out of femininity since that state was considered sin. For any 172 woman to be saved, her femaleness must be transformed into maleness. Gnostics nullified 173 the cross and resurrection claiming that Christ had no physical body of flesh and blood (cf. 174 the text in 1 Tim 2:5)29 and thus "neither the cross nor the empty tomb have any _______________ 26Erickson, 27Edwin 28Ibid., 17. Yamauchi, "The Gnostics and History," Journal of Evangelical Theological Society, N.d, 34. 34. 291 Tim 2:5 reads: For (there is) one God, and (there is) one mediator of God and men (anthropon), the man (anthropos) Christ Jesus. Note that, unlike the Gnostic teaching that Christ had no physical body 7
  • 175 redemptive significance. As Christ had had only the resemblance of a body the suffering 176 on the cross was apparent not real."30 The above sample of the Gnostic teaching argue for 177 the fact that the NT Christian mission was not a walk over. Rather it was a tread in the 178 thorns, as it were, and it was necessary for the apostles to draw out a clear line between the 179 gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ and the blossoming conglomerations of the Hellenistic 180 philosophies and teachings in the Greco-Roman. 181 Discussing the NT epistolary imperatives and exhortations ought to be done with a 182 keen sense to the external waves against true Christianity. This study strongly agrees with 183 Carl P. Cosaert who advances that our dependence on the scripture does not call for its 184 simplistic deduction, nor its disdainful dumping on the heap of its historical context. 185 Rather, a scrutiny of the background of the text upholds the principle that "our belief in 186 the authority of the scripture requires that we do all we can to understand what this 187 passage meant to its original audience so we can faithfully apply it to our setting today."31 188 Most attempts to study the Pauline silence-submission texts often miss the mark 189 when they take the common misunderstanding that the NT generally portrays a rabbinic 190 picture of the woman. This perception, however, overlooks the fact that the Pauline 191 writings address a Hellenized Jewish woman whose social status is exalted above both the 192 Roman and the Jewish woman.32 Narratologically analysed, the complexity of, and the 193 concern of Paul for the mission in Ephesus is portrayed by the amount of narrative space 194 (two chapters, 19 and 20) that Luke dedicates to the account.33 Paul's and the narrator's 195 attention are justifiable because the status of men and women in Ephesus often interfered 196 with some tenets of the teaching of Christianity.34 Witherington observes that _______________ of flesh and blood, Paul underscores the fact that the mediator between man and God is also man, thereby affirming a contrastive teaching peculiar to Christianity. 30Yamauchi, 37. 31Carl Cosaert, "Paul, Women, and the Ephesian Church: An Examination of 1 Timothy 2:8-15," Wala Wala University, June 2013, 1. 32Cosaert, 10. 33Philip A. Brown, “Nehemiah and Narrative Order in the Book of Ezra,” BS 162 (2005): 179. Luke's narration of Paul's missionary activities appear to indicate a narrative temporal proportionation. Brown describes that “temporal proportioning in a narrative involves three elements: the total amount of time the narrative covers, the distribution of that time across the narrative, and the relationship between the speed of time inside the narrative and the speed of time outside it.” Observation of the narrative time given to the period of Paul's stay in Ephesus reveal that Paul gave a considerable amount of attention to issues in Ephesus. 34Ben Witherington, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, vol., 1 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 218. Witherington avers that the inscriptions in Ephesus facilitate knowledge into the ethos of Ephesus. 8
  • 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 Our concern here is with the public roles that women played, particularly in religion in that city, and so with expectations that the high-status women might have about the roles that they would play in the fledging Christian community in that place. There can be little doubt that 1 Timothy is attempting to address some high-status men and women, who, as the case was in Corinth, are creating some of the most serious challenges to Paul's authority and mandate for the house churches there. The critique about the love of money in 1 Tim 6, as well as the critique about the women wearing expensive apparel or having too much time on their hands, are clear signal that such high-status persons in Ephesus are a particular concern of the apostle.35 206 Based on archaeological information, Ephesus, as the rest of the Hellenistic world, 207 had highly venerated women placed in public and religious life of society. Witherington 208 names Verdia Marcia, a woman who was a pytany36 that served in the temple of Artemis. 209 The second woman, Aelia Ammia, was praised in terms similar to those Paul uses in 1 Tim 210 2:9; 3:11; Titus 2:3-5. 37 A third woman, Apollonis, was so exalted that at her burial all 211 shrines were ordered to be closed and a public mourning was declared. The fourth woman 212 character worth mentioning is Epiphania described as wealthy and a teacher of other 213 women. Though this character lived in the second century A. D., her position facilitates 214 history to envisage that the esteemed position of women and their leadership positions in 215 society continued after the apostolic era. 216 Given such a picture of the position of women and men in Ephesus, and generally in 217 the Hellenistic society, it may be appropriate to suggest that the Pauline haustafeln is in the 218 context of regulating the sense of self that undermined the Christian ethic of humility that 219 is modeled after Christ himself (see Phil 2:1-11). It may be based on this context that Paul 220 calls believers to shift from the worldly positions and lofty exaltations to focus on their 221 spirituality that causes in them actions that are redemptive in nature. With this in mind, 222 therefore the paper turns to an analysis of the text of humility in Eph 5. 223 The Purpose of Submission in Eph 5 224 225 Women's submission in Eph 5 is easily seen by an eye that is laden with the emancipationist viewpoint. However, submission is not the major issue here. The _______________ 35Ibid, 218. 36According to Witherington, 218, pytany was a title given to a man or woman "who was the keeper of the sacred fire of Hestia, but who also was one of the chief magistrates of the city , and official documents would be dated by listing who was serving in this office at a particular time." 37Ibid, 219. Noteworthy is that Some descriptive words like sophrosunes (good sense, sound judgment, modesty, decency), semnos (serious; of good character, honorable, worthy, respectable), and philathropos (loving one's husband) employed to describe the high priest Aelia Ammia also appear in 1 Tm 2:9,15; 3:11; and Titus 2:3-5. 9
  • 226 submission motif here rhymes with the rest of the submission texts in the Pauline writings 227 that stem from spiritual piety that is opposed to the prevalent equalitarian world view. This 228 is evident, especially, in the event of viewing the word "submit" (~upotasso,menoi) in 5:21 229 as the fifth Greek participle that is connected to the imperative "be filled with the Spirit" 230 (Eph 5:18). A disconnection of this participle from the thread of the previous four 231 participles (lalou/ntej, a;|dontej, ya,llontej, and euvcaristou/ntej) results in treating 232 ~upotasso,menoi as separate command thereby exalting it instead of the substantive 233 command plhrou/sqe evn pneu,mati (be filled with the Spirit). When this error is committed 234 Eph 5 becomes a text of patriarchal subjugation, or at best, a text that intended to instill 235 order in a family. The family viewpoint should be read here in the context of the church, a 236 body of believers, for whose redemptive unity, cohesion and mutual submission Paul 237 endeavours to ensure. The structure below gives the thought flow of the text in vv 18-22. 238 plhrou/sqe evn pneu,mati lalou/ntej, a;|dontej, ya,llontej, euvcaristou/ntej ~upotasso,menoi 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 Be filled (plhrou/sqe) with the Spirit by Speaking (lalou/ntej) to each other in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, by Singing (a;|dontej) and psalming (ya,llontej) in your own hearts in the Lord by Giving (euvcaristou/ntej) thanks to God the Father at all times ... by Being submitted (~upotasso,menoi) to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives to your own husbands as to the Lord38 being submitted 253 It is notable from the above illustration that in the Greek text of Eph 5:22 the passive How to be filled by the H-Spirit 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 254 participle hupotassomanoi (being submitted) is absent and most Bible translators of verse 22 255 adopt the implied passive participle (being submitted) from verse 21 to complete the verb- 256 less clause (“wives to your own husbands as to the Lord”). Since, normally, a passive 257 requires a subject or an agent, then the acting force on men (v. 21) and women (v. 22 ) 258 may be the impact of being filled by the Holy Spirit in verse 18. Verse 22, therefore, 259 appears to conclude the ‘how-words’ (participles) describing the manner (or means) by 260 which the believers can “be …filled with the Holy Spirit” (v. 18). _______________ 38Participles are implied in the verb-less sentence “wives, to your own husbands as to the Lord (v 22). 10
  • 261 The structure further illustrates that the popular family submission text, often 262 verbalized by the exclusivists, seems to deal with a reorientation of a community of 263 believers whose bona fide Christian coexistence is threatened by Hellenistic and other 264 dominant worldviews that exalts individual self image of both men and women. The 265 submission of women to their husbands is in the context of the general Spirit generated 266 submission of the believers to one another to foster in the community of believers a 267 redemptive harmony that results from the abounding of the in-dwelling Spirit 268 referred to in verse 18.39 269 Examining Issues in 1 Tim 2:8-15 270 It is largely attested by commentators that the historical context of the letter to the 271 Ephesians is similar to that of 1 Tim 2:8-15. Francis D. Nichol advances that the 272 Ephesians is a pastoral letter that Paul wrote "to the church at Ephesus, a metropolis of 273 the proconsulate of Asia, with intentions that it should be sent also to other churches in 274 the area."40 This letter was a follow-up epistle on the missionary work that the author 275 engaged in for three years. First and second Timothy were written later to Timothy an 276 elder who took care of the church in the same metropolis.41 277 278 "Not to Teach, not to Domineer, but Learn in Silence" (verse 11) 279 Paul's command prohibiting women not to teach, to domineer, and to learn in silence 280 (1 Tim 2:11, 12) is one of the Pauline commands that has provoked debate and has been 281 used by exclusivists as one of the arsenals to strongly knock out WO. However, like any 282 other text, this statement is often taken at face value neglecting the textual and historical 283 context based on which it ought to be interpreted. It may be suggested that the expression 284 "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection" (1 Tim 2:11) belongs to the larger 285 exhortative context that begins from 1 Tim 1:17. Here a transitional conjunction de is 286 employed to change subject "to a new topic of discussion"42 that continues to 1 Tim 2:15. _______________ 39This is in consonance with Rom 14:15, 20, 21 and 1Cor 8:13 where, for the sake of unity and mission, Paul restrains himself from eating what is generally permissible (See also Rom 9:7-18). 40Francis D. Nichol, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald , 1980), 993. 41Nichol, vol. 7, 285. 42 Daniel B. Wallace, The Basics of New Testament Syntax, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishers, 2000), 298-299. 11
  • 287 Furthermore, the application of the present active imperative verb manqane,tw in 288 verse 11 may be said to suggest that there is a sub-pericope that is indirectly connected to 289 the previous one. This being the case, then verses 11-15 ought to be interpreted as one 290 block text with all the nerve-racking ideas: woman learning in silence with all subjection, 291 not teaching, not usurping authority over the man, learning in silence, being secondary in 292 creation, being one deceived, and being saved through childbearing. Focusing on the issue 293 of silence and neglecting the above other ideas is ignoring the conjunction gar (for)43 in 294 verse 13 that apparently makes a logical connection between "silence" in verses 11 and 12, 295 and the order of creation and transgression in verses 14 and 15. 296 Many Bible scholars acknowledge that 1 Tim 2:12 and its preceding and subsequent 297 texts comprise one of the hard texts in the NT.44 However, the earlier agreement with Carl 298 P. Cosaert still holds: "as Christians who believe that Scripture continues to be 299 authoritative for all of life, Seventh-day Adventists cannot simply disregard difficult 300 passages like this...."45 The next section, therefore, is dedicated to probing into the 301 meaning of the "silence," with endeavours to find its meaning in collaboration with its 302 immediate, the larger context, as well as the historical context. 303 Why does Paul Stop Women from Speaking? There are few writings, if any, that crop 304 out without precedent and there are many propositions that suggest the precedent of this 305 statement. Carl P. Cosaert is one of the scholars who strives to make sense out of this 306 challenging text. Cosaert observes that "apart from the letter to the Romans, the rest of 307 the Pauline epistles were written in response to particular problems."46 The difficulty of the 308 idea in which the silence command is embedded deserves special attention. Rebecca 309 Merrill Groothuis challenges the exclusivist interpretation of the text and asks: 310 311 312 313 314 If Eve's deception is somehow the reason why all women for all time are forbidden to teach men, then why should women be forbidden only to teach men but not women and children (who, presumably, would be even more likely than men to be deceived by the deceived)? And if Paul’s intended meaning is simply that women are not to be pastors or elders, why doesn’t he say just that? Indeed, why does Paul _______________ 43The conjunction gar falls in the larger family of logical conjunctions "which relate the movements of thought from one passage to another by expressing logical relationship between the connected ideas. See Wallace, 298-299. 44David R. Kimberly itemizes a number of scholars who testify to the fact that the Pauline text of 1 Tim 2:11-15 is problematic. For details see David R. Kimberley, "1 Tim 2:15: A Possible Understanding of A Difficult Text" Journal Of The Evangelical Theological Society 35/4(Dec. 1992), 481. 45Cosaert, 1. 46Ibid. 12
  • 315 316 nowhere state clearly such a straightforward prohibition? Why, instead, all the roundabout, analogical language here?47 317 Based on the questions she asks, Groothuis argues that Paul wrote to Timothy to 318 address the issues of heresy in the Church at Ephesus and thus the statements in the 319 epistle ought not to be taken as an absolute prescription for the church today.48 She 320 continues that the term authentein translated as "teach" is a harpax legomenon in the NT 321 and Paul may have used in the term to convey a special meaning that was particular to the 322 situation addressed in the Ephesian Church. The meaning of authentein in this text, 323 Groothuis further postulates, is based on the usage employed during the time of Paul and 324 may have included "usurping authority, dominating, prevailing upon, or instigating 325 harm."49 Authentein, therefore, may not suggest a permanent injunction denying women of 326 the opportunity to participate in spiritual edification, as this may be contrary to OT 327 scriptural testimony and the testimony of the then praxis mentioned in Paul's other epistles 328 as well as those of his contemporary apostles. 329 The argument that the NT haustafeln texts are localized is attested when Paul issues 330 contradictory commands. In 1 Cor 11:5 he requires that a woman veils herself whenever 331 she is praying and prophesying, the actions that do go against "silence." Yet in 1 Cor 332 14:34, he commands women to "be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to 333 speak, but should be subordinate." Thomas Harvey's comment on this seeming 334 contradiction affirms the claim that haustafeln are not eternal prescriptions but relevant 335 within their context. He argues that aware of the semantic application of the term gynaiki, 336 the Corinthian church might have identified a shift in the application from the generic 337 woman to wives who have husbands. Harvey states 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 Paul’s demand for silence fits with what we know of women in Greco-Roman households. Sisters, single women and widows had a considerable degree of independence and relative authority. Wives, on the other hand, had married into a family and thus had a lower status. Given the hierarchical nature of Roman households, wives speaking publicly in worship would bring shame on the husband by upsetting proper household order and authority. On the other hand, widows or unmarried sisters would represent no such indiscretion50 _______________ 47Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, "The Bible and Gender Equality," resources/14-groothius-pdf.pdf, Accesses on October 9, 2013, 6. 48Ibid., 6 49Ibid. 50Thomas Harvey, "The Biblical and Evangelical Justification for Women Serving as Ministers and Pastors in the Church," available at, October 2013, 49. 13
  • 345 Harvey observes that the unmarried women had a simple relationship as a redeemed 346 community and could easily interact within the saved community. However, this type of 347 flexible and free relationship could be detrimental for wives and husbands. This obliged 348 Paul to give strong exhortations to re-ground the deteriorating marital order in the 349 redeemed community. Harvey continues by saying that 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 In Roman society it was not uncommon for women to have positions of authority and patronage. Thus for women to exercise power and authority in the church would not have caused disruption or discomfort amongst Gentiles. Nonetheless, GrecoRoman society was hierarchical and issues of proper subordination did loom large in Paul’s day. As converting and inverting message of the cross penetrated Roman Society, it raised new issues with regard to social and familial decorum. Though Paul recognizes the revolutionary nature of the Gospel, his letters are often at pains to maintain those household and familial relationships necessary for sound order.51 358 Ben Witherington, on the other hand, suggests another dimension that explains the 359 Pauline order for women to keep silent. Comparing this text with 1 Cor 11-14, 360 Witherington suggests that this silence imperative is embedded in the larger section that 361 calls upon both men and women to observe order in the "somewhat chaotic worship 362 situation."52 This perception suggests that there is harmony in both of these passages, and 363 may become a case in point to derive the principle governing the rest of the NT 364 haustafeln.53 Based on this insight, the next section briefly deals with another of Paul's 365 statement in the pericope under study 366 Woman: Saved through Childbearing 367 As discussed in the previous paper, the Pauline elucidation that "For Adam was 368 formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and 369 became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing...." (1 Tim 2:13-15) is 370 one of the most difficult text in the Pauline corpus. David R. Kimberly concurs that "there 371 is no doubt that the passage raises numerous questions for the Biblical interpreters, all the 372 more so in a contemporary climate where reevaluation of the roles of both men and 373 women is taking place within society..."54 Before a brief study of the text, it is pertinent to 374 spell out the interpretive difficulty the text presents when taken at face value. 375 _______________ 51Ibid, 47. 52Ben Witherington, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 213. 53Ibid. 54Kimberly, 481. 14
  • 376 The Interpretative Difficulty of 1 Tim 2:11-15 377 Andreas Köstenberger observes that apart from causing translational difficulties as 378 revealed in the diversity in different versions, the text has been a subject of contention in 379 church history. He notes the Church Fathers were divided on its interpretation: While 380 Augustine thought "Paul was here speaking of the bearing of 'spiritual children,' that is 381 good works," other ancient interpreters, such as Chrysostom and Jerome, thought 382 women's salvation was contingent on their (physical) children's perseverance in holy lives 383 of faith taking the later part of the verse ("if they continue in faith and love and chastity 384 with self-restraint") as referring not to the women themselves but to their offspring.55 385 Some of these influences linger and influence our contemporary elucidation on the text. 386 According to Jeffrey J. Meyers the theological complication implied in the word 387 "saved" precipitate the translation of the word as "preserve," "keep safe" to keep Paul 388 from seemingly drifting into righteousness by works. The semantic application of the word 389 sozo ranges from spiritual including salvation from eternal death, to physical nuances that 390 include healing, preserving, keeping safe. Unfortunately, the use of this word often focuses 391 on an inappropriate application of the meaning in the text. Meyers makes efforts to 392 interpret the verb sothesetai (will be saved) in terms of the spiritual redemption and tags 393 it to the protoevangelium in Gen 3:15 claiming that the childbearing (tes teknogonias) is 394 in reference to the birth of Jesus.56 This interpretation, however, falls short of satisfying 395 the unity of the sub-pericope that talks where silence and childbearing ought to be 396 interpreted together. 397 Koestenberger, on his part, avers that sozo in its passive application (be saved) "may in 398 certain contexts denote a person's physical or spiritual preservation from danger or harm." 399 Comparing the use of sozo in other texts like 1 Timothy 4:16, he finds the spiritual 400 salvation not implied because Paul charges Timothy to save his congregation by ensuring 401 that their ultimate salvation is assured on the last day. Regarding salvation through 402 childbearing, Koestenberger advances that childbearing connoted keeping in her feminine 403 domain assigned to her from creation. 404 405 406 407 It means, among other things, that she will not yield in her mind to false notions of what it means for her to be a woman and in particular a woman of God. It means that she will respect divinely set boundaries in the exercise of her spiritual gifts and ministry calling in trust and obedience to God's Word. It means that she will find _______________ 55Andreas J. Köstenberger "Saved Through Childbearing? A Fresh Look at 1 Timothy 2:15 Points to Protection from Satan’s Deception," a summary of his article "Ascertaining Women's God-Ordained Roles: An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:15," Bulletin of Biblical Research 7 (1997): 1-38. 56Jeffrey J. Meyers, "How are Women Saved," Biblical Horizons 134 (October, 2000): 2 15
  • 408 409 410 fulfillment in her domestic calling, in her relationship with her husband, in her role as mother and maker of the home, and in proper ministry involvements in God's "household," the church (see 1 Tim. 3:15). 411 He explains childbearing as the role given women from creation. The woman fell into 412 the snare of Satan due to disobeying the command to remain in her domain to be 413 constantly subordinate to her husband. Koestenberger's view, too, seems to overlook the 414 context in which Paul was operating. 415 Other exclusivist exegetes, grapple with the text and in a bid to get biblical mandate 416 for exclusivism find comfort in severing the idea in verse 13-15 from the silence section 417 (11, 12). To them, this is a prescription that throws women off the platform of pastoral 418 ministry. However, these proponents neglect the inevitable fact that the interpretation of 419 verse 13-15 ought to be in total conformity to the context of the pericope, the epistle as a 420 whole and the entire Pauline corpus and theology. This paper suggests that all dimensions 421 of biblical interpretation ought to be employed to seek the mind of Paul and what his 422 audience heard him speak through the text. If this is not done how can the apparent 423 “contradictions” be overcome, and how can the idea in the pericope be harmonized with 424 the rest of the context and the Pauline labour on the efficacy of the death of Jesus for 425 human salvation? 426 The difficulty still stands. As stated earlier that the silence section (1 Tim 2:11-12) 427 seems to be connected to the next text (verse 12-15) and the conjunctions involved attest 428 to the fact that it is one block text. The conjunction gar (for), according to Daniel B. 429 Wallace, fall in the larger family of logical conjunctions "which relate the movements of 430 thought from one passage to another by expressing logical relationship between the 431 connected ideas."57 Additionally, the same conjunction belongs to a subfamily known as 432 explanatory conjunctions that announces the arrival of additional information. It may, 433 therefore, be proposed that gar in verse 13 announces the onset of additional information 434 that is logically related to the idea in the previous verses.58 If this is the case then verses 11- 435 12 ought to be linked to the argument started, perhaps, earlier in verse 1 Tim 1:17. Thus it 436 would be an exegetical fallacy to make conclusion about the silence of women by a cursory 437 look at 1 Tim 2:11,12 in isolation of what might be Paul's overarching idea in the sub_______________ 57See Wallace, 298-299. 58Wallace posits that the conjunction gar is described as an explanatory conjunction that announces additional information. It is often translated "for," "you see," "that is," "namely." Wallace, 298-299. 16
  • 438 pericope.59 Paul’s total idea in the sub-pericope is constructed by the constituent 439 components: learning in silence, woman’s deception (not Adam's), and salvation through 440 childbearing. All of which components bound together in the function to elucidate on the 441 "silence" in verses 11 and 12. 442 In the above section it has been observed that first, the verses poise an interpretive 443 challenge. Second, it is insightful to note that the text of verse 11-15 is a sub-pericope that 444 advances a single idea relevant to the larger context that spans from 1 Tim 1:17-2:15. 445 Third, it has been realized that the idea in verses 13-15, taken at face value, stands contrary 446 to the Pauline theology that esteems the cross of Jesus as efficacious for human salvation. 447 The next section, therefore, endeavours to briefly discuss verses 11-15, in consideration of 448 its context, the historical setting and in the light of the unity of the Pauline rhetoric. 449 Guarding against Gnostic Influences 450 Commenting on the text, Kimberly proposes that "in order for this reading to 451 become definitive for 1 Tim 2:15, further research would need to document a significant 452 Gnostic presence in Ephesus during the apostolic era."60 He notes that Gnosticism 453 intermingled with Christianity in the Mediterranean region during the first century. 61 This 454 proposition conjures up the need to reexamine the text 1 Tim 2:11-15 in light of other 455 factors. The study earlier observed that Paul's statement in verse 15 seemingly disagrees 456 with his gospel, and sounds incongruent with the rest of the text in the sub-pericope, 457 which according to the earlier discussion in this paper, is bound together with the 458 conjunction gar in verse 13 as observed in the text of 1 Tim 2:8-15. To fully get to grips 459 with what Paul is concerned with, it may be pertinent to make a brief excursus into the 460 world that warranted him to restrain women from exercising authority over men and to 461 learn in silence, to strongly remind believers of the order of creationa teaching that was 462 popular with the harbinger of grace and faith, to emphasize that Eve was the subject of _______________ 59Gordon Fee, New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors, (Luisville, KY: John Knox, 2002) itemizes some guidelines for getting in touch with, and evaluating the cultural background and data of any text under study. He recommends that an exegete ought to first, "determine whether some cultural milieu of your passage is basically Jewish, Greco-Roman, or some combinations of both" (Ibid., 102), second, "determine the meanings and significance of persons, places, events, institutions, concepts, or customs" (Ibid., 104), third, "gather parallels or counterparallel texts from Jewish or Greco-Roman sources that may aid in understanding the cultural milieu of the author of your passage" (Ibid., 105), fourth, "be aware of the background information" with which he is dealing" (Ibid., 109), fifth, "determine the date of the background information" (Ibid., 109), and lastly "be aware of the diverse traditions in your background material and weigh their value for your passage." Ibid.,110). 60Kimberly, 486. 61Ibid. 17
  • 463 deception (contrary to his strong teaching on the two Adams), to argue that a woman's 464 salvation would be attained through62 childbearing. This calls for a scrutiny of the text 465 below 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 474 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling; 9also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire 10 but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion. 11Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. 12I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty (RSV, emphases supplied). 475 Several scholars advance propositions that address this dilemma apparent in the text. 476 Peter Baylis, observes that the first century Church was facing Gnosticism—one of the 477 greatest apostasies. Baylis presents a synopsis of what would be the catechism on one of 478 the main strands of Gnosticism. The philosophy, according to Baylis, held that the 479 physical is evil, but the spiritual is good; salvation is attained when pure spirit escapes from 480 the evil body and ascends to heaven by means of gnosis (special knowledge); the OT god, 481 Yahweh, is evil because he created the evil physical world. The body is evil and ought to 482 be molested by fasting. In order to abrogates the law of the evil god, Gnostics glorified 483 sexual immorality and forbade marriage. However, childbearing was regarded as evil 484 because it creates more vile in the world, and all women involved were destined to 485 damnation. This quasi religion worshipped Eve as a "perfect, spirit-being who created 486 Adam and united with the serpent to enlighten humanity with gnosis. Knowledge of one's 487 origins via the family tree is vital for salvation because it links one to Eve the origin of all 488 creation and salvation. Gnosticism saw Christ as a being that did not have a physical body, 489 though he appeared to possess one. This particular teaching, Baylis observes, is the hue 490 behind John's statement: "Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is 491 from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the 492 Antichrist (1 John 4:2-3).63 493 494 Kimberly holds a similar view. According to him, Paul's strong assertion in this pericope is a reaction against the Gnostic ideas that had impacted the perception of the _______________ preposition dia in this context may be interpreted severally. There is a strikethrough in the preposition 'through' because this paper suggests an alternative translation of dia that seems to agree with the context employed in the text and the historical circumstances in play in the text. 62The 63Peter Baylis, "Paul, Timothy, the Gnostics and Women," retreieved from, October, 2013. 18
  • 495 believers in Ephesus. He observes that this command is in concomitance with his other 496 warnings in the epistle that some believers were involved with "teaching different doctrine 497 (1 Tim 1:3)...myths and genealogies (1:4), misapplying the law (1:7), rejecting conscience 498 1:19)." Kimberly further observes that in chapter four Paul warns about those who 499 prohibit marriage (4:3), and who instruct people to abstain from foods (4:3), a fact that is 500 attested in the Gnostic philosophy.64 501 Gnosticism had several strands that displayed divergent teaching that impacted the 502 life of the believers of Paul's time; one was exalting women, yet the other was misogynous 503 and denigrated femininity.65 One strand taught that at creation man was created as a spirit 504 and woman as matter. Eve is viewed to have created Adam by breathing in him her life 505 (Zoe) and making him complete human by teaching him knowledge that belong to the 506 cosmic realm.66 On the other hand, the philosophy had a negative perception of 507 femaleness.67 Gnosticism, Kimberly further advances, prominently articulates that the 508 dichotomy between male and female was an error. Salvation, according to the philosophy, 509 was a result of a dissolution of the sexes into an androgynous union.68 As a result of the 510 Gnostic teaching, there was no place for childbearing; women discarded childbearing as an 511 illegitimate occupation and sought to attain the androgynous status. 512 The above phenomenon inspired un-collaborative voices and perceptions in regard to 513 the status and role of a woman in the community of believers at Ephesus and in other 514 churches in the Greco-Roman world. Because women were on the fore front teaching this 515 Gnostic-oriented doctrine that seemed to confer a higher status upon them, Paul strongly 516 commands them to be silent and listen to their husbands who seemed less excited over the 517 Gnostic insights. Paul countered this teaching by articulating the order of the creation of 518 human beings: man first, then woman from man, and the subsequent blessing of 519 childbearing. Childbearing, on the contrary therefore, does not result in condemnation 520 upon a woman but even with69 childbearing salvation is possible for a woman as long as 521 she continues in faith and producing the fruits of faith. _______________ 64Kimberly, 484. 65Cosaert, 14. 66Cosaert, 15. 67Cosaert, 15. 68Kimberly, 485. Note that the term androgynous is a combination of two Greek words andros which means "man" or "husband" and gune which often refers to "woman" or "wife." 69This study notes that dia could be translated 'with.' 19
  • 522 In addition to the Gnostic influence, Cosaert proposes three more factors that might 523 be key players in Paul's command in 1 Tim 2:11-15 and in other haustafeln texts: the cult of 524 Artemis, the perception of the Hellenized Jewish woman, and the perception of the 525 Romanized woman.70 Cosaert avers that the community of Ephesus worshiped an all- 526 powerful female fertility goddess. According to Cosaert, "The influence of an all-powerful 527 female goddess was so strong at Ephesus that local legends at the time of the Apostle Paul 528 claimed that the city itself had been founded by powerful women, the mythical Amazons, a 529 group of dominant women warriors especially devoted to the worship of the mother- 530 goddess"71 Artemis. The worship of Artemis was mediated by women priests, a fact that 531 elevated the position of women far above men in religious matters. According to Cosaert, 532 533 534 535 536 537 538 539 Women's' "priesthood of the patron deity of Ephesus was important and one of high public profile. With such a visible presence within Ephesus, Gentile converts would not have needed to have been initiated members of the cult of Artemis to have associated aspects of the role of women in the worship of Artemis along with those of their new found faith in Christ. After all, the riot Demetrius the silversmith instigated against the work of the apostle Paul in Ephesus indicates that we should not assume that Christianity in Ephesus developed in complete isolation from the worship of Artemis (Acts 19:23-41)."72 540 Cosaert's second factor, the pomp that the Hellenized woman aired, should not be 541 underestimated in mapping the tapestry that form the backdrop of Paul's haustafeln 542 imperatives. Unlike the sketch that the rabbinic Judaism exposes, a Hellenized Jewish 543 woman was an emancipated public figure that displayed a wider range of community 544 roles.73 Unlike a characteristic Jewish woman whose beauty was measured in terms of 545 humility, simplicity and rapidity at domestic chores, the Jewish woman in the Hellenistic 546 Diaspora was a smart daring personage that "occupied positions of influence in the highest 547 political circles...and sometimes "with an array of intriguing titles: leader, elder, mother, 548 father, and priestess."74 Thus, the Hellenistic influences left none unaffected. The trends 549 evolved a construct of the classic Jewish woman into a status that inevitably demanded the 550 epistolary to constantly appeal to women to return to the nostalgic Hebrew woman (1 Pet 551 3:5,6) in order to maintain focus on the purpose of life and the mission of Christ generally 552 espoused in the NT. _______________ 70Cosaert, 71Ibid., 7-20. 7. 72Cosaert, 73Ibid., 10 74Ibid., 9. 11 20
  • 553 The third factor, Cosaert mentions is the prevalence of the impact of the 554 emancipation of women in the Roman Empire. The new form of governance instituted by 555 Augustus Ceasar brought with it an emergence of the new Roman Woman who moved 556 from a modest persona to a complex woman with styles, and lifestyle. This liberated 557 woman pursued trade opportunities, public ranks-including religious and social 558 positions. The Roman empire was so emancipating that laws on status, wages, property 559 ownership, and domestic supremacy, liberty to divorce and claim back her dowry, as well 560 as freedom to extramarital sex. On one hand, some aspects of this status was useful to the 561 ministry of the gospel as attested that "The pages of the New Testament also illustrate the 562 way in which these sorts of women contributed to the spread of Christianity" (Rom 16:1; 563 Phil 4:3; Acts 16:15; Col 4:15; 1 Cor 16:19). Yet on the other hand "some women used 564 their new freedom simply to enhance their own personal pleasure and 565 gratification...consumed with the beauty of the physical body, ...sensual attire, cosmetics, 566 expensive jewelry, and elaborate hairstyles...." Thus, much as it may be positively viewed 567 that Christianity flourished luxuriantly in the Hellenistic and other non-Jewish societal 568 mediums, in the light of the prophetic and redemptive nature of Christianity, there were 569 gross losses of the tinge of the orthodoxy and a gradual turn into "a wholly Hellenistic 570 thing."75 571 What, in Brief, is Paul Saying in 1 Tim 2:11-15? 572 Prayer and Women's Deportment 573 After an excursus through the historical circumstances in Ephesus that form a 574 background of Pauline epistle to Timothy, it may be pertinent to deal with the meaning of 575 the text of 1 Tim 2:11-15 in the light of the discovery of the issues and factors in play. In 1 576 Tim 2:1-6 the apostle evokes all believers, men and women, to pray for all people because 577 God desires all of them to attain salvation and for that reason the apostle was called. The 578 apostle here makes a reminder to their noble responsibility despite their theological 579 squabbling " endeavouring, as Cosaert avers, "to change the orientation of the church 580 from being inward looking to outward looking" because the "theological infighting among 581 the believers had caused the church to lose sight of the reason for its existenceits 582 mission to share the gospel to a dying world."76 _______________ 75Buttrick, 351. 76Cosaert, 21. 21
  • 583 The next section, verses 8-10, discloses Pauls endeavour to defocus the believers 584 from the infighting to prayer. Their hands are holy, consecrated to God by a calling they 585 received by the anointing of the spirit. Such hands ought not to be lifted contrary to 586 purposes related to the calling. Elsewhere, holy hands are used for healing, blessing, 587 fellowship and commissioning. In Gal 2:9 the apostles gave Paul and Barnabas the right 588 hand of fellowship. In Acts 26:1 Paul raised his hand as he was making his defense for the 589 rationale of preaching the gospel of salvation. In Acts 3:7-8 Peter's hand held and lifted the 590 paralytic to the experience of physical (and spiritual) wholeness. Hands can be wrongly 591 used to implement acts of anger and strife. So Paul, in 1 Tim 2:8-10, is striving to restate 592 the holy use of the handspraying for those who believe and those who do not and 593 praying for the peace needed for the propagation of the gospel. 594 The subsequent section turns to the deportment of women who, too, owing to the 595 trend of women's self image, overly paid attention to themselves instead of perceiving 596 themselves as instruments of the grace of God. Cosaert observes that "liberalizing cultural 597 trends had influenced a generation of women/wives to reject the traditional modest 598 attire....In an age when a woman's dress would 'signal either modesty and dignity or 599 promiscuous availability' the situation among the believers in Ephesus was hardly trivial." 600 Condoning the situation would not only "bring shame on the women's husbands, but it 601 also had potential of severely damaging the reputation of the church in the eyes of the 602 unbelievers in Ephesusthe very people that the church wanted to reach with the 603 gospel."77 604 Women's adornment would not be the only damage to the cause of the gospel but 605 also their ascetic outlook through whose lenses they looked at their Christian life. An 606 amalgam of asceticism and the emancipationist worldview would lead to uncontrollable 607 proportions if they were left to soak up the women's self definition in a community that 608 defined itself in terms of the supra-mundanea community whose mission task was 609 tasking believers to forfeit their freedoms and rights for the sake of saving souls. 610 611 612 Connecting Issues: Silence, order of Creation, Transgression, and Salvation As stated earlier, the silence text (1 Cor 2:11,12) finds explanation in the subsequent 613 text that deals with the order of the creation of Adam and Eve, Eve being the transgressor, 614 and woman's salvation through child bearing (verses 13-15). In the light of the discussion _______________ 77Cosaert, 22. 22
  • 615 in this paper, verses 11 and 12 may justifiably find elucidation in verses 13-15 when Paul is 616 taken to be addressing the two strands of Gnosticism that are part of the factors at play in 617 the medium saturated with the emancipation of the Hellenistic Jewish women, the Roman 618 women with their public status, and the priestesses of Artemis. 619 Thus Paul's call for women's silence (vv 11,12) does not suggests that women ought 620 to be eternally tight-lipped on issues of sharing their salvation but should be seen as a 621 temporary halt on their zeal to share what they perceive to be their new light which, to 622 Paul, was a miscellany of a high percentage of error and a minimum percentage of the 623 gospel. Some may have wanted to exert themselves based on the fact that they are perfect, 624 spirit-beings who united with the serpent to enlighten humanity, possess gnosis to impart 625 onto their husbands and men, and deserved higher community status even beyond that of 626 Timothy and Paul. 627 The order of creation (vv 13,14) that, connected by an elaborative conjunction "for," 628 fits here as an explanation to the silence. The conjunction seems to imply that Paul in 629 verse 13-15 is explaining the reason he calls for the silence of the women by emphasizing a 630 biblical teaching that is contrary to the Gnostic teaching they espouse. He explains that 631 Eve, a so called perfect spirit-being, did not create and give life to Adam, rather Adam was 632 created first and Eve was made from him. 633 Another conjunction de that joins verses 13 and 14 to verse 15 is vital to make Paul 634 deal with two strands of the Gnostic teaching. The conjunction may be translated "but," 635 "to the contrary," "rather," "now," "then," "so." If the conjunction is translated as "then," 636 it would allow the connotation of the English "also" to make Paul address a strand of the 637 teaching that is misogynous and makes women shun femininity, child bearing and all 638 sexuality in order to attain masculinity, a perceived highest status through which salvation 639 is attained.78 Since this teaching regarded childbearing as evil because it creates more vile, it 640 might have been pertinent for Paul to address it in order to reinstate the solemnity of 641 marriage, albeit with a redemptive hue (Eph 5:22-33), and in agreement with his other 642 epistles that emphasize marriage mutuality and complementarity.79 643 The text in verse 15, "yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they 644 continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty (NRS), is another text that has been 645 interpreted variously. To address the issues at hand, and to cooperate with the rest of the _______________ 78Cosaert, 15. 79J. Carl Laney, "Paul and the Permanence of Marriage in 1 Corinthian 7," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 25.3 (Sept 1982), 284. 23
  • 646 text to elucidate the silence idea in verse 11 and 12, an appropriate translation of the 647 preposition 648 translated as "through," "by means of," "with," "during," or "throughout." In the case of 649 the issue at hand the use of " throughout" would be relevant to render "also she will be 650 saved with childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with 651 modesty." Citing the text o[diV lhj nukto.j kopia,santej ouvde.n evla,bomen "master, having 652 worked throughout the whole night we caught nothing" (Luke 5:5), Alga Thomas exposes 653 that the preposition is also employed to refer to a "period of time throughout or after 654 which an action occurs."80 Following this, to get into the context of the text, it may be 655 suggested that Paul was attempting to undo the misogynous perception and encouraging 656 women to continue their God-given noble function of childbearing. Even as they continue 657 (throughout which experience) salvation is available to them. That is to say the saving 658 grace of God is available to a woman despite her life-long engagement in her duty to "be 659 fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it" (Gen 1:28). ought to be ascertained. This preposition, used with a genitive may be 660 In sum, it may be proposed that verses 13-15 clarifies the silence in verses 11 and 12. 661 Paul does so to address, among other influences, the two strands of Gnosticism: one that 662 that overly exalted feminism and the other that played down on femininity. Paul strong 663 imperative that called for women's silence (vv 11,12) may not suggests a prescription but 664 was a temporary halt on women's teaching and domineering spirit that would have 665 bolstered errors and pride. The explication on the order of creation, the issue of 666 transgression of the woman, the childbearing indented to curtail the teaching that was 667 derailing the believers from biblical teaching. The proposition of this paper on the use of 668 the preposition dia used with a genitive may be contented, however, leaving the grammar 669 aside, the discussion of the background may justify the interpretation that Paul is 670 addressing the external trends. 671 672 Paul's Missional Rationale Paul is belabouring with these issues setting in order the believing house in Ephesus 673 because the task of preaching the gospel cannot be accomplished when the community of 674 believers is fractured with strife resulting from external influences. His philosophy of life 675 constrains him to do things against his personal rights. In 1 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 676 he expresses the preference of the gospel to any of the rights he and any genuine believer _______________ 80Olga A. Thomas, "Prepositional Systems in Greek, Gothic, Classical Armenian, and Old Church Slavic," PhD Dissertation, Graduate Faculty of The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 2006, 32. 24
  • 677 possesses as gospel worker. In his perspective, a genuine Christian has theological, 678 eschatological, and Christological ethical imperative that ought to summon him/her to 679 answer a call to a service of reconciling people to God. "The atoning death, and 680 resurrection of Christ possesses power and authority within the ethical dimension of 681 Christian living (cf. 2 Cor 2: 14 -15; Rom 6; 14:8,9: 15:30; Phil 2:5-11; Eph 5:25)."81 In 1 682 Cor 8:9 he argues against cherishing too much on personal freedoms at the expense of 683 providing a growth experience of young believers.82 Commenting about Paul's burden 684 regarding fractures in the Corinthian church A. Rahel Schafer avers 685 686 687 688 689 690 ...members of the Corinthian church were apparently demanding the prerogatives to exercise their individual rights, in accord with the then-current philosophy. The disunity of the church thus weighed heavily on Paul's heart as he wrote 1 Corinthians. But the factions and other problems in the church also give a clearer glimpse of the struggles Paul faced in understanding how Christian freedom relates to societal traditions83 691 Thus Paul's concern in 1 Tim 2:11-15 is an endeavour to put the church community 692 "house" in order to defocus them from infighting and to focus them on the broader 693 gospel responsibility. He strives to reorient their life and aspirations in line with God's 694 desire to save all men, and that the cause of the gospel would be in jeopardy if they are 695 fractured along lines of philosophical teachings and individual freedoms fanned by secular 696 trends and external influences. The command for quietness is in agreement with his 697 personal philosophy to life and his conviction that love provides an ethical imperative that 698 summons every genuine believer to answer to a call to service of reconciling people to 699 God (2 Cor 5:14-21). So for the sake of the unity of the community of believers, and for 700 the sake of sticking to sound gospel doctrine, the women should abandon their lofty and 701 pompous preoccupation and cultivate humility and civility in the community of believers. 702 Conclusion and Recommendations 703 Conclusion 704 This paper started with a dilemma as to who is right: the conservative voices who 705 perceive gender inclusiveness as “contrary to the teaching of the Bible,” or the pro_______________ 81H. H Drake Williams, "Living as Christ Crucified: The Cross as a Foundation for Christian Ethics in 1 Corinthians" Evangelical Quarterly 75.2 (2003), 117. 82Ibid 129. 83A. Rahel Schafer, "'Does God Care about Oxen?': Another Look at Paul's Use of Deuteronomy 25:4 in 1 Corinthians 9:9," Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, 21.1-2 (2010), 115. See also E. Coye still, "Paul's Aim regarding Ειδωλοθυτα: A New Proposal for Interpreting 1 Corinthians 8:1-11:1," 334. A journal available through ATLAS collections. 25
  • 706 ordination camp who regard women exclusion from the clergy as contrary to the "biblical" 707 perspective of the role of women in God's mission. This paper observes that neither of the 708 camps is right. The NT seems quiet on the issue of the Ordination of Women. After 709 analyzing Eph 5:22 and 1 Tim 2: 11,12 as a sample of the texts often alluded to justify 710 positions, this study submits that the texts are either read from the surface level, or are 711 applied without a keen regard for the context and syntactical relationship. Prohibitions on 712 women in the NT are more on the contextual address of the haustafeln than on permanent 713 interdictions on women to speak and share their gospel experience in public and in the 714 church congregations. Importantly, the study on the above sample texts gives a clue as to 715 what ought to be done with other NT prohibition texts so that they are not taken and 716 applied out of their respective historical contexts. This study has discussed the first part of 717 the topic that asks whether the NT haustafeln should argue for or against the WO in the 718 SDA Church. The next task will consider whether the current trends should pressurize the 719 Church to do so. 720 721 Recommendations Based on the observations above, and based on the understanding that the Seventh- 722 Day Adventist Church was raised for the purpose of proclaiming the end time message 723 enveloped in the Three Angels’ Messages, this paper proposes that the World Church may 724 halt the Ordination of women to pastoral ministry. The paper advances the following 725 observations and their corresponding recommendations. 726 Observation 727 728 729 730 731 732 733 734 735 736 737 738 739 740 741 742 As stated above, the NT seems quiet on Ordination of Women and the texts employed seem superficially and subjectively analyzed to justify positions. Prohibitions on women in the NT are not a permanent interdiction; and liberty texts refer generally to the redemptive status attained in Jesus Christ. Recommendation 1 Based on this observation this paper recommends a halt on the Ordination to allow more study and to establish redemptive grounds for “Yes” or “No.” Observation The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes the role of women and their rich variety of gifts usable in the mission of the Church. There are specialized services that women may do well, such services may not be ably handled by men. These services, however may not necessarily require that the servant be an ordained person _______________ 26
  • 743 744 745 746 747 748 749 750 751 752 753 754 755 756 757 758 759 760 761 762 763 764 765 766 767 768 769 770 771 772 773 774 775 776 777 778 779 780 781 782 783 784 785 786 787 788 789 790 791 792 793 Recommendation 2 There should be a deliberate increase in women departmental appointments at all levels. Women may be appointed elders as need arises, and as may be socially and culturally acceptable. Observation To avoid the errors of studying the texts from goal oriented perspectives, the Seventh-day Adventist Church should invest more in studies and researches on the verses that both the pro-ordination and anti-ordination camps use. Recommendation 3 All relevant hermeneutical principles ought to be applied in handling all biblical passages that generate controversies. Themes and topics for GC and Division Bible Conferences should be determined by issues on the ground, and the main presenters should be people on the ground. BRI should listen to the papers and advise, but not to be main presenters on issues they may have limited experience. Observation The quinquennial theme “Revival and Reformation,” is relevant to refocus the believers on their calling as the eschatological Remnant (Rev 14:9-12). The believers should realize their status that “they are not of the world” (John 17:16) yet Jesus “sent then in the world” (v 18) to be the rays of light given to them through the Lord’s sanctification (v 19). Recommendation 4 There should be decisive strategies to strongly address the over-domineering secular influences that constitute the backdrop of pressures on the Church even to the level of blurring her divinely assigned mission. This was Paul's burden, It ought to be the church's and every believer's burden. Observation The Church should reemphasize her missional universality summed up in the catchphrase “Unity in Diversity.” This reflects the NT operational structure demonstrated in Acts 15:1-35 where the affluent Gentile church was is concord with the leadership in the destitute Judean region. The settlement of theological and missional issues at Jerusalem demonstrates “Unity for the Diversity” of mission that Christ assigned the apostles. Further still, the modus operandi in the chapter demonstrates “Unity through Diversity”—the Jerusalem Council observed the way the Spirit had worked in divergent contexts and this became foundational for the generation of a unity that flagged the expansion of Christianity. Recommendation 5 Church in the western setting should benefit from the testimonies of the “conservative” church in Africa by observing God’s works in the “primitive Adventism” that is closer to the biblical culture. Let the West not only sing “Give me the old, old religion” but come to Africa to practically see how the Spirit works in the context of “the old, old religion.” 27
  • 794 795 796 797 798 799 800 801 802 803 804 805 806 807 808 809 810 811 812 813 814 815 816 817 818 819 820 821 822 Observation Patterson argues that “ordination is, by General Conference policy, the purview of the union level of governance. This being the case, the General Conference has overstepped its bounds in seeking to tell the unions that they may or may not ordain women to the gospel ministry.”84 If this is a subjective interpretation, it might indicate that the GC’s scope of leadership is not well articulated. If Patterson is right, then the current church power scope may not adequately empower the GC to keep the doctrinal and structural harmony that is foundational for the denomination to realize its gospel mission. Recommendation 6 For the Church to remain faithful to Scripture, and to its mission, the leadership, mainly the GC committee and GC in session must be bold especially on decisions regarding doctrine and unity. The power scope of the GC should be strengthened. Observation Too much power is invested in a pastor against the warrant of the NT. It may be postulated that the scramble for women ordination is not because women want empowerment to ordain church elders, to solemnize marriages, or to baptize. The reason could be more about the rights and privileges that the church has made to be appertaining for a minister who is ordained. Recommendation 7 Based on the NT concept of ordination, the SDA Church should make clear the perceived difference between ordination to ministry and ordination to other offices like eldership or deaconry. The church should give the biblical basis for the elevation of the clerics vis-à-vis the position of other church servants in other ministries like healing and education _______________ 84Patterson, 1. 28